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Poppyshake's 'Conquering Mount Virginia' Challenge

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Like a lot of people, I'm a little bit in awe of Virginia. I've made a small dent in her already with mixed results which has made me more inclined to pick up those - if indeed there could be said to be any - that are more reader friendly. This will not do!
It's too late now to read them in order which would've been the best way because she was constantly evolving and trying for something new .. but I will read them chronologically .. ish  :D from now on (some of the essays and short stories were published posthumously as collections etc). Later down the line, when/if I have recovered and if the will is still there I may add books by other Bloomsbury members (Lytton Strachey and Leonard Woolf in particular) and associates (Vita Sackville West, Katherine Mansfield, Edith Sitwell & T.S. Eliot etc) but for now .. Virginia's work, and the biogs about her, are challenging enough.
I've stocked up on migraine cures, sedatives and alcohol ... let's see if I can reach Mastermind status with my knowledge of the Woolf ( :no:)

 
ginia.jpg
 
Progress 18/40 :flag_of_truce: 
 
Fiction:
Melymbrosia (an early version of The Voyage Out)
The Voyage Out (1915) review
Jacob's Room (1922)
Mrs Dalloway (1925)
To the Lighthouse (1927) review
Orlando (1928) review
The Waves (1931)
Flush (1933) review
The Years (1937) review
Between the Acts (1941)
 
Short Story Collections:
Selected Short Stories
A Haunted House
A Society
Monday or Tuesday
An Unwritten Novel
The String Quartet
Blue and Green
Kew Gardens
The Mark on the Wall
Solid Objects
In the Orchard
A Women's College from Outside
The Lady in the Looking Glass
The Shooting Party
The Duchess and the Jeweller
Lappin and Lapinova
The Complete Shorter Fiction (1989)
 
Biographies:
Roger Fry (1940)
 
 
Non-Fiction/Essays:
The Common Reader (1925)
A Room of One's Own (1929) review
On Being Ill (1930)
The London Scene (1931)
The Common Reader - Second Series (1932)
Three Guineas (1938)
The Death of the Moth and other Essays (1942)
The Moment and other Essays (1947)
The Captain's Death Bed and other Essays (1950)
Granite and Rainbow (1958)
Books and Portraits (1978)
Women and Writing (1979)
 
Selected Letters (2008)
Selected Diaries (2008)
(having read these I would like to read the complete versions ... if I can track them down at a non-bankrupt inducing price :D).
 
Misc:
Virginia Woolf: A Biography (1882-1912) - Quentin Bell (1976) review
Virginia Woolf: A Biography (1912-1941) - Quentin Bell (1976)
A Boy at the Hogarth Press - Richard Kennedy (1978)
Thrown to the Woolfs: Leonard & Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press - John Lehman (1979)
Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood - Angelica Garnett (1985)
The Letters of Vita Sackville West to Virginia Woolf - edited by Louise de Salvo (1992)
Virginia Woolf - Hermione Lee (1997) review
Love Letters: Leonard Woolf & Trekkie Ritchie Parsons (1941-1968) edited by Judith Adamson (2001)
Mrs Woolf & the Servants - Alison Light (2007)
Leonard Woolf: A Life - Victoria Glendinning (2007)
Hyde Park Gate News - Virginia Woolf
The Charleston Bulletin Supplements - Virginia Woolf & Quentin Bell
 
:smile: .. so .. here we go :yahoo: ... I feel quite confident :hide:  :D  

Edited by poppyshake

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I really enjoyed Mrs. Dalloway, although not the first time I read it, only the second and the ones after that. What did you think of it? Did you find it as weird as some of my friends or did you enjoy the story and the characters like some others did?

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English is my second/third language, so reading Virginia's works is not easy for me, especially given my age. I'm fascinated by her, though, and I've read a few biographies. For now, I read about her life, both in books and on the internet. I hope that in time, I can read her books.

 

I have Orlando, A Room of One's Own/Three Guineas, Selected Letters and Mrs. Dalloway in my bookcase. I've only read the last one, and it was a struggle to read at first because of the language, but in the end I enjoyed it very much. I think I'd have to re-read it to fully appreciate the work, though.

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Best of luck Miss Poppy

 

You have me beat already,as I have yet to read one Woolf book ,although I have probably had her name on my list of a "Someday Read " for a long time . Maybe you'll be my inspiration to at least tackle one ,then we'll go from there .

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I really enjoyed Mrs. Dalloway, although not the first time I read it, only the second and the ones after that. What did you think of it? Did you find it as weird as some of my friends or did you enjoy the story and the characters like some others did?

I have only read it once but need to re-read because a lot of it sailed over my head and I did find it the most difficult (so far :D that doesn't bode well because it's fairly early.) I read it last year I think or the beginning of this one and still haven't written a review which is telling. Almost impossible to write one now as keeping the threads straight in my head was hard enough at the time. It's one of those books that call for an immediate re-read .. I wish I had now but certain characters really stuck in my mind .. Clarissa obviously but Septimus and Rezia especially.

English is my second/third language, so reading Virginia's works is not easy for me, especially given my age. I'm fascinated by her, though, and I've read a few biographies. For now, I read about her life, both in books and on the internet. I hope that in time, I can read her books.

I have Orlando, A Room of One's Own/Three Guineas, Selected Letters and Mrs. Dalloway in my bookcase. I've only read the last one, and it was a struggle to read at first because of the language, but in the end I enjoyed it very much. I think I'd have to re-read it to fully appreciate the work, though.

I take my hat off to you Alexander .. I am struggling with her and English is my first language (only language to speak the truth .. the few words I know of French and German couldn't be considered a language :D) I struggled more with Mrs Dalloway than the rest .. I think you'll find Selected Letters and A Room of One's Own easier .. the letters and diaries are fantastic because they give you such an insight. Orlando is one I'm looking forward to.

Best of luck Miss Poppy

You have me beat already,as I have yet to read one Woolf book ,although I have probably had her name on my list of a "Someday Read " for a long time . Maybe you'll be my inspiration to at least tackle one ,then we'll go from there .

Well thank you Julie :) I hope to inspire you to pick her up but I do understand .. she's a bit of an acquired taste.

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It's one of those books that call for an immediate re-read ..

 

That's so true! Well said, Poppyshake.

I read it again the past summer, when my book club took a month off for the holiday season and we read two books instead. We combined Mrs. Dalloway with Cunningham's The Hours which was a really really good idea! I'd seen the movie (Meryl Streep! love.) before but the book just brings so much to it. It'd be interesting to read the letters of Woolf and try to compare how well Cunningham managed to recreate her for the book.

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That's so true! Well said, Poppyshake.

I read it again the past summer, when my book club took a month off for the holiday season and we read two books instead. We combined Mrs. Dalloway with Cunningham's The Hours which was a really really good idea! I'd seen the movie (Meryl Streep! love.) before but the book just brings so much to it. It'd be interesting to read the letters of Woolf and try to compare how well Cunningham managed to recreate her for the book.

I saw The Hours and enjoyed it but I hadn't read anything by or about Virginia then so a lot of it went over my head. I shall have to re-watch it and re-read Mrs Dalloway. I'm thinking of getting an audio actually. Juliet Stephenson reads it unabridged and she is marvellous so maybe that will unlock the book further. I couldn't get on with Wuthering Heights until I heard Juliet reading it .. then it all clicked into place. The selected letters are great .. likewise the diaries, it's nice to read about her in her own words.

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I'd never read anything by Virginia Woolf until a couple of weeks ago, now Mrs Dalloway and 'selected short stories' are on my reading list for uni.

 

I have to admit, I'm struggling to get through Mrs Dalloway. I find the structure really odd. Everything flows together beautifully... but sometimes the flow goes on for so long that I have to go back to check who she's talking about. There's also been a few times where I've come across a sentence which sounds wonderfully arty but makes absolutely no sense to me; then I end up interrupting the story for myself by trying to work out what she means.

 

I'm relieved you found Mrs Dalloway the most difficult so far, it gives me hope for the others! I completely agree with you on the characters though, particularly Septimus, I really want to find out what will happen with him, it's sort of keeping me going! :readingtwo:

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She didn't get her reputation for nothing did she? :D I know what you mean Hayley, I was often floundering .. I'm not so sure her other works are going to be any easier (Flush is very easy but then it is very UN-Virginialike so more of an exception really.) With Mrs Dalloway (and To the Lighthouse) I found bits I understood and enjoyed and sort of clung on to those, other bits I was clueless about. I'm just reading Hermione Lee's biog on Virginia and there are lots of insights there (and in her letters and diaries) into what she was aiming at and that's helpful (although it has to be said the biog is not the easiest read either .. you can't relax for a moment :D) The structure of her books is odd .. purposefully so I think (thank you Ginny :D) .. she didn't want to write like everybody else .. she wanted to find a fresh new way. Also a lot of her ideas for plots etc (if they can be called plots) came when she was drifting in or out .. or in the middle of .. illness .. so in a sort of half delirious state. It might be helpful (though a bit drastic to be honest :D) if we're in a similarly half delirious state when we read them. Perhaps half a cider would do :D

I'm really looking forward to the short stories .. how hard can they be? :D

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I'm really looking forward to the short stories .. how hard can they be? :D

 

They sounds like 'famous last words' if ever I heard any! :giggle2:

 

Good luck with your challenge. You're already off to an amazing start! I'm still a bit too intimidated to read Woolf. :blush2:

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I've only read three. Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and To the Lighthouse. Dalloway is my favorite, and probably her easiest. I have more in the stack, and two bios of her. I actually didn't care for Orlando, and must reread the other two.

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They sounds like 'famous last words' if ever I heard any! :giggle2:

They do don't they :D .. and I have reason to eat my words already. I borrowed a book of her short stories from the library .. and the first few I've looked at are challenging :D .. more like poetry than stories but you know ... challenging poetry :D

Good luck with your challenge. You're already off to an amazing start! I'm still a bit too intimidated to read Woolf. :blush2:

Thanks Kylie :) I think when the time is right you'll pick her up, that's what happened to me anyway. The letters and diaries would be a good place to start and obviously the biogs but Hermione Lee's is a bit too in depth I think for total beginners. Quentin's is much more accessible.

Dalloway is my favorite, and probably her easiest.

Oh Lord! .. now I'm worried :hide: :D

 

I've got off to a bit of a bad start with my intentions to read them chronologically because the library only had Orlando and so that's the one I'll go with next. They also had a book of her short stories but not the complete .. only the selected. I've dipped in .. oh boy am I in for it :D

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The letters and diaries would be a good place to start and obviously the biogs but Hermione Lee's is a bit too in depth I think for total beginners. Quentin's is much more accessible.

 

Thanks. :) I only have the second volume of the Bell biography so far (of course :roll:).

 

I just found a book on The Book Depository's website called Hyde Park Gate News, which is definitely going on my wish list. Here's a description:

 

As children, Virginia Woolf, elder sister Vanessa Bell, and brother Thoby Stephen collaborated on their very own family newspaper. Published here, Hyde Park Gate News includes the original drawings as well as previously unpublished photographs from the family albums. Ingeniously mimicking the style of the leading newspapers of their day, the Stephen children present a charming and candid portrayal of the day-to-day events at their family home in London and at their holiday home in St Ives. Gossipy, playful, and at times irreverent, they record the comings and goings of a host of figures, George Meredith and Henry James among them, while also proffering their own fictional, poetic, and artistic creations.

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Thanks. :) I only have the second volume of the Bell biography so far (of course :roll:).

I believe you have more now .. good girl :D

 

I just found a book on The Book Depository's website called Hyde Park Gate News, which is definitely going on my wish list. Here's a description:

 

As children, Virginia Woolf, elder sister Vanessa Bell, and brother Thoby Stephen collaborated on their very own family newspaper. Published here, Hyde Park Gate News includes the original drawings as well as previously unpublished photographs from the family albums. Ingeniously mimicking the style of the leading newspapers of their day, the Stephen children present a charming and candid portrayal of the day-to-day events at their family home in London and at their holiday home in St Ives. Gossipy, playful, and at times irreverent, they record the comings and goings of a host of figures, George Meredith and Henry James among them, while also proffering their own fictional, poetic, and artistic creations.

Ooh yes, well done you. I would've been extra excited if I'd read this before going to 'Shakespeare & Co' .. as it was I did a little jig when I saw it.

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I have finished the mammoth biography .. hoorah!! Very enjoyable but quite arduous and also melancholy because of course .. the story always ends in the same sad way.

I've started listening to an unabridged version of The Voyage Out and am loving it so far .. not at all difficult :o Virginia obviously wasn't so experimental at this stage .. puts me in mind of Jane Austen at the moment which can never be a bad thing.

 

Also reading Orlando (not a chronological choice but you have to take what the library gives you sometimes :D) and am loving it also .. am amazed actually at how much I'm enjoying it .. but it's early days .. it may all unravel :D

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Finished Orlando and enjoyed it immensely. It's a lot of fun actually and not at all difficult to follow. Still enjoying listening to The Voyage Out .. there's something quite Jane Austeny about it and again it's not at all difficult. Picked up Between the Acts from the library and have started it already .. thought I'd really be in for it because it was her last novel and as such was expecting all sorts of experimentalism but it's quite straightforward so far. Country house and its inhabitants (family, visitors, servants etc) .. if there was a murder it would be a bit Agatha Christie, though with Agatha people say more and think less which is the reverse with Virginia.

What has got me tearing my hair out and looking a bit wild eyed is her short stories .. this is not the complete but the selected .. selected for what? .. headaches? :giggle2: There are one or two that flow nicely .. just put in I suppose for respite purposes. The String Quartet is all about attending a recital but really .. I almost had to go and have a lie down. I think I could study this story for ever and still not completely make it out .. and it's only three or four pages long :empathy:

'Flourish, spring, burgeon, burst! The pear tree on the top of the mountain. Fountains jet; drops descend. But the waters of the Rhone flow swift and deep, race under the arches, and sweep the trailing water leaves, washing shadows over the silver fish, the spotted fish rushed down by the swift waters, now swept into an eddy where—it’s difficult this—conglomeration of fish all in a pool; leaping, splashing, scraping sharp fins; and such a boil of current that the yellow pebbles are churned round and round, round and round—free now, rushing downwards, or even somehow ascending in exquisite spirals into the air; curled like thin shavings from under a plane; up and up.... How lovely goodness is in those who, stepping lightly, go smiling through the world! Also in jolly old fishwives, squatted under arches, oh scene old women, how deeply they laugh and shake and rollick, when they walk, from side to side, hum, hah!'

 

I wonder what she would've made of a Lady Gaga concert :D

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Ah, I love this challenge! It's so very you! :smile2: I'm going to be watching this thread very closely. (For some reason I thought this was a challenge for 2013 and so I've only come to read it now as I've been busy in life etc. Silly me, as the year 2013 was in no way indicated in the thread title :rolleyes:)

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Poppyshake, the first part of your last post got me all optimistic about reading Virginia Woolf, and then I read the second part. :o I had heard before that Orlando is a good starting place with Woolf, so I guess I'll make that my first read.

 

I saw on your other thread that you found Hyde Park Gate News at Shakespeare & Co. Awesome! I just ordered it myself last night. :)

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Ah, I love this challenge! It's so very you! :smile2: I'm going to be watching this thread very closely. (For some reason I thought this was a challenge for 2013 and so I've only come to read it now as I've been busy in life etc. Silly me, as the year 2013 was in no way indicated in the thread title :rolleyes:)

Well it would've made more sense for me to start it at the beginning of the year but I had to strike while the iron was hot frankie before I could talk myself out of it :D

Poppyshake, the first part of your last post got me all optimistic about reading Virginia Woolf, and then I read the second part. :o I had heard before that Orlando is a good starting place with Woolf, so I guess I'll make that my first read.

Yes well, I now find I was a tad too precipitous in thinking Between the Acts was going to be a breeze. There I was skipping down the path, basket laden with cookies or pies or something .. all rosy cheeked and humming a tune .. when Virginia set the dogs on me :D I've been holding on like grim death ever since. Orlando is indeed a good place to start Kylie, even though it might not be typical Woolf. Apparently though the one definitely NOT to start with is The Waves :wibbly:

I saw on your other thread that you found Hyde Park Gate News at Shakespeare & Co. Awesome! I just ordered it myself last night. :)

Brilliant! I'm looking forward to reading it .. should be fun .. puts me in mind of the Pickwick Club newspaper that the Little Women wrote.

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Yes well, I now find I was a tad too precipitous in thinking Between the Acts was going to be a breeze. There I was skipping down the path, basket laden with cookies or pies or something .. all rosy cheeked and humming a tune .. when Virginia set the dogs on me :D I've been holding on like grim death ever since. Orlando is indeed a good place to start Kylie, even though it might not be typical Woolf. Apparently though the one definitely NOT to start with is The Waves :wibbly:

 

:haha: Great visual. :D

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So I have finished Between the Acts and The Voyage Out .. one more enjoyable than the other .. neither of them exactly sparkling though. I need to do reviews soon :empathy: always a trial with Virginia. I'm stuck in the middle of the short stories which is most unfair .. they should be easy. I will soldier on though, or at the very least I will write down those I've read (because this is only the selected .. I will need to get hold of the complete anyway). Soon I will be getting fines from the library which is outrageous .. it's one thing to be taxed by Woolf but quite another to be charged. I'm on my third renewal though and I'm not sure how far their patience stretches. There may be someone desperate to get their hands on her short stories (haha .. I pity that person.)

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Well, looks like my introduction to Virginia might be sooner than I thought - my reading group are reading To The Lighthouse for our next meeting. Is it a good one to start on, Kay?

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Well, looks like my introduction to Virginia might be sooner than I thought - my reading group are reading To The Lighthouse for our next meeting. Is it a good one to start on, Kay?

Ooh I'm scared now .. it was the one I started with (well I had read Flush but let's count that out :D) and I loved it but it wasn't easy and I didn't catch everything. I think it's the one to read to get the full Virginia flavour. Actually brilliant for a reading group because there's lots to discuss. You'll either love it or hate it Claire, it depends on how you get on with her writing style .. good luck! :D

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Thanks! In a weird coincidence, we're catching up with some older episodes of Countryfile and they're visiting East Sussex and have just done a segment on Virginia. There was actually a mistake at the library, and the next book is Mapp & Lucia (which I've already read but will happily read again) and To The Lighthouse is for March, so I've got a while before I have to read it. OH was saying he'd read it too and enjoyed it, so I'm quite looking forward to it, although a tad nervous. :D

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